Clash ‘n’ Kerry

by Stephen Tall on November 2, 2006

This clip has been seen 706,846 times since it was uploaded to YouTube just two days ago.

This is the moment – in fact, just 10 seconds – when Senator John F. Kerry torpedoed any extant hopes he might have had of running for the Presidency again in 2008, by appearing to imply that US troops are doofuses. (Though I’m sure he will have been buoyed by my colleague’s support of him.)

Mr Kerry’s office has now released the text of what the Massachusetts senator meant to say:

“I can’t overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush.”

It’s still a glib, wise-ass dig, which is fine if you’re David Letterman or a blogger, but the man who would have been JFK II is better than that.

However, it’s worked to the Democrats’ advantage. Not only has it guaranteed the last few days of mid-terms campaigning continues to be dominated by Iraq – a subject the President would prefer to dodge (like the draft) – but it ensures the uninspiring Mr Kerry is off the 2008 ticket.

Over 9,000 people have so far commented on that YouTube clip. But the sassiest take I’ve yet read was uttered by Vice-President Dick Cheney (though I don’t suppose for a moment he originated it):

“Senator Kerry said he was just making a joke and he botched it up. I guess we didn’t get the nuance. Actually, he was for the joke before he was against it.”